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Mpororo, the devastated empire

By Admin

Added 20th June 2018 05:46 PM

In Mpororo, people lived in optimism of future events. They expected better harvests and merriment occasions. Any of the negative reactions were referred to as God’s annoyance.

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In Mpororo, people lived in optimism of future events. They expected better harvests and merriment occasions. Any of the negative reactions were referred to as God’s annoyance.



By Mzee Karebu Kahirita

The modern intellectuals believe that God chose leaders to rule over nations. The same visionary attitude was shared by our ancestors. 

In Mpororo, people lived in optimism of future events. They expected better harvests and merriment occasions. Any of the negative reactions were referred to as God’s annoyance. 

The non-expected disasters were pronounced as bad omen. Such undesired situations made the population seek divine protection of redemption powers. They usually consulted the traditional augur who delivered prophetic messages for their future destiny.

Some of the fore fathers focused on the secrets of nature and interpreted on future outcome. To mention but a few, was the Omuzigaba Nyakairima Kamuzoora, who lived in the territory of Bushegyerwa. He foretold the current events centuries ago.

The prophetic events included the tarmac roads – Ebihandagazi, the motor vehicles – Ebitara, the endless moving serpent – Railways, the hanging ropes –telephone wires and many others. 

Another sorcerer – omurangi the Omurarira Kashagama who lived in Bwishikatwa, foretold the restoration of Mpororo Empire. He proclaimed the recovery for the royal drum grabbed from Katsita by Ruhinda son of Wamala, five hundred years after.

Up to date, many elders recall some of those prophetic utterances from the same famous oracular – Abahangu

The occurance of continuous calamities over Mpororo followed the after math of Kahaya Rutindagyezi. The empire began experiencing unexpected human disasters. Such as famine, epidemic diseases affecting cattle - kahumpuri, the human strange diseases Yaws - Ebinyoro etc.

The most memorial event was the total darkness Eclipse witnessed in 1520 soon after Kahaya Rutundagyezi had died. The monument at Igongo site have been selected as a historical event. The local saying – Barwezambiza okeeta Ingongo ati oife ondarire – obwirakabiri.

The appearance of the eclipse was locally described as the fight between the sun and the moon. When two elephants fight, the grass suffers. That is how people began suffering years after the eclipse.

Another cause of suffering was the mysterious lose of the Royal drum Muhororwa. The sons of Kahaya Rutundagyezi conspired against their father and assumed power over certain areas under their jurisdictions.

Kahaya Rutundagyezi never lost total grip over Mpororo and replaced the lost drum with Kihooza, to plead for Muhororwa. At the end of his reign, he gave the same royal drum to the daughter Nturagye.

Princess Nturagye had already been married to chief Kagiira of Karagwe. The couple was blessed with children Katsita, Karisa and Nyaburiza.

Between 1520 and 1535, Mpororo was ruled by Princess Nturagye. She thought wisely to groom her son Katsita as the heir to the throne.

As years went by, a mysterious bird, the eaglet, laid eggs on the top of the children’s hut. The traditionalist inspired Katsita and brothers as their fortune. He advised them to follow an eaglet after it hatched the eggs to the direction of its destination – Buhweju.

While in Buhweju, between 1535 and 1540, the heightened period of the five years, Katsita was invited by the couple, Njunaki, the former maiden to Kahaya Rutundagyezi and husband Wamala.

Without hestation, Katsita accepted and headed for the defunct palace carrying the drum Kihooza.

On arrival, they were met by young Ruhinda eating millet bread – omwate gwoburo. The servant carrying the drum, joked with young Ruhinda to share with him the millet bread, In agreement, the young Ruhinda requested to play with the drum Kihooza.

Soon after the consumption of the millet bread, the servant asked for the drum which the young Ruhunda refused to hand over. He was supported by the on lookers who symphasised with Ruhunda to have exchanged in good faith – Barter trade.

The royal drum Kihooza was deliberately confiscated from Katsita, another misfortune for increased burden over Mpororo.

After such humiliation, Katsita and sister Nyaburiza travelled towards Babito. They left Karisa in Buhweju, whose descendants were called Barisa sub-clan.

The sister, Nyaburiza, began shrine ritual performances which later came to be called Ekitooma kya Nyakahima. Katsita settled nearby in preparation for revenge of the lost drum Kihooza. His descendants in both Bunyoro and Mpororo were called Batsita sub-clan under the Bagahe of his father Kagina’s clan. In many attempts against Ruhinda’s rule, many of the people in Mpororo suffered the strange disease yaws – Ebinyoro.

Although Katsita’s forces were defeated, the reminants regrouped along the lake shores. Some historians believed that the war veterans founded the defunct Koki Dynasty.

Mpororo remained under depression of famine and cattle epidemic. The home of Wamala was also divided as they sought asylum. The mother Njunaki went with Ruhinda and Kibibi to Karagwe. The husband Wamala travelled to Bwera with Mugasha for greener pastures. 

A few days after the arrival in Ntutsi Bwera, the son Mugasha went in search for food across the next territory

Wamala was left feeding cattle on salt which overdosed the lovely cow Bihoogo and died instantly. Through frustration, Wamala decided to vanish to Bunyoro, where he had originated.

On return, the young Mugasha waited for his father in vain. He went following the eastern direction and lost the way. He disappeared along the lakeshores never to be seen again. The name Mugasha got worshiped as the spirit of the lakes, known as Mukasa.

Later, the mother Njunaki, with children returned, never to see their father Wamala and brother Magasha again. The royal drum had been kept by Mzee Katuku, the father of mother Njunaki and was handed over to the owner Ruhinda who began ruling between 1540 and 1590. 

Thereafter, the Bagyesera clan leaders claimed the royal drum Kihooza and the Bahinda made another replacement for their royal drum called Bagyendanwa. 

All those arrangements came about as the divine deviation performed by the sorcerer from Karagwe – Omuhangu. The Princess Nturagye with Bagyesera clan leaders sought the augur advice on the restoration of Mpororo.

The provision of a cow Nyinanjeru and the breastless girl -  Epa, were among the requirements needed for traditional ritual performance. The invisible spirits were consulted for the interpretation of the future Mpororo.

The awaited traditional cleansing ritual was publicly announced. The augur blamed both clan leaders and Queen Mother for negligence over royal drums Muhororwa and Kihooza.

For that reason, Mpororo was to be shared in terms of reign periods by both Bagyesera and Bahinda clans. At the end of both reigns, other powers would penetrate the country and abolish the traditional rule. Then there would be followed by another indigenous ruler to restore the dignity of the great country.

Sooner or later, the Bagyesera recaptured power and regained the royal drum Kihooza. 

For the period of 150 years, between 1590 – 1740 Bagyesera clan leaders ruled as follows;

1. Mujugira Ngoma – led the recapturing of the royal drum Kihooza

2. Muraire – the one abused by nephew Kahurubuka – Omwihwa okwihwa Eicumu  local saying

3. Queen Kitaami Kyebumbe, the sister to Muraire

4. Rwakisheiju – Regent by Queen Kitami Kyebumbe

5. Kamurari the son of Kitami and had cattle kraal in Rujumbura

6. Rwerenga, the last of Bagyesera rulers. 

After Ruhinda’s descendants had multiplied in numbers, they also revolted against the Bagyesera with their new royal drum Bagyendanwa. They ruled between 1740 and 1896 which marked the declaim over Mpororo sovereignty that ended up partitioned by colonialists as follows;

1. Rwebishego – removed the Bagyesera clan

2. Gatsonga 1 the father of Mutambuka

3. Mutambuka who succeeded his father Gatsonga 1

4. Ntare Rugingiza, the mighty ruler whose name called Ntare school

There were a vacuum of years from 1896 to 1910

5. Kahaya Edward the installed Omugabe of Ankole monarchy

6. Geofrey Gatsyonga the last omugabe of Ankole 1944 – 1967.

In conclusion, the six other leaders were referred to as Presidents of Uganda since independence 9th October 1962, as follows:

1. Kabaka Mutesa 11 first President, Buganda Kingdom by 1900 Buganda agreement annexed areas which belonged to Mpororo. 

2. Dr. Appolo Milton Obote – Abolished the traditional rulers 1967

3. Gen. Idd Amin the military ruler

4. Yusuf  Lule removed Gen Amin

5. Godfrey Binaisa QC, the author of THE Republic constitution 1967

6. Gen. Tito Okello the military ruler

7. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni – Liberator under National Resistance Movement

The seventh among the fully pledged Presidents of Uganda Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni fulfilled the restoration of the devastated tradition rulers in the Country as fore told by the oraculars- Abahangu – of the ancestors, five hundred years ago. 

The writer is a member of Banyakigezi elders forum



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